Abstracts: CMOS Ottawa, 2007-2008

(in language given)

Stieb/Henderson:  The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) was developed by Health Canada and Environment Canada, in collaboration with governments and health and environment organizations, to empower Canadians to plan, on a daily basis, to modify their behaviour and reduce the personal risk associated with air pollution. The development of the AQHI reflects the results of Canadian and international research linking daily air pollution levels to acute health impacts associated with local air quality in urban communities.

In 2007, the federal Ministers of Health and Environment committed $30M over four years to transition the existing MSC Air Quality Forecast Program towards providing AQHI forecasts and to support, through provincial and local partnerships, the adoption of the index nationally. This joint presentation will outline the fundamentals and future of the AQHI and forecast program.

Hudson:  In his talk "Arctic Weather", Ed hopes to instill some "arctic" to your weather consciousness. He will show things that influence the weather in the Arctic and vice versa and the resultant climatology such as that for blizzards. He will share some of the interesting, newsworthy, or award winning meteorological moments that he experienced or witnessed during his arctic career such as polar lows, sacrificial beaches, and extreme wind events. From the perspective of an operational arctic forecaster, he will contrast where we were in the 1970s, where we are now in 2008 and where we can go in 2008/2009 and beyond with respect to forecasts and monitoring in the north with an emphasis on surface data, polar orbiting satellites, and buoys on ice in the arctic basin. A segment of the talk will look at activities in the north and the weather information that is available to support them.

Cantwell: The relative speed and significance of environmental change to the global commons is arguably greater today than in any period of recorded history. Knowledge about such change in advance is required in order to better adapt and/or mitigate the impacts to and from humanity's complex integrated economic, social, and environmental systems. Fortunately, advancements over the last decade in science and technology as well as inclusive participatory approaches to collaboration may now be brought together to produce more useful predictions of likely or conditional states of these complex systems. The implications for developing and harnessing this predictive capacity may be enormous benefits to humanity by allowing more informed and integrated decision-making concerning the protection of the natural world and the enhancement of human health, safety and prosperity. Yet these advancements in S&T and governance are only now catching the attention of government, industry, and civil society around the world.

This presentation will discuss the nature of environmental prediction - its definition, scope, and potential benefits. The presentation will propose a strategic approach to enhancing EP and its usefulness in Canada by setting out objectives, principles, and processes in a Canadian context. It will present a non-traditional way for bringing together the S&T and decision-making communities to produce more useful knowledge about the future in order to better manage the cumulative risks and opportunities of a changing world.

Manore:  Earth observations are especially important to Canada. Our immense land mass, vast oceans, inland waters, and atmosphere require a wide array of observations and measurements in order to monitor and understand their current condition and to predict their future states. The first Earth Observation Summit in 2003 initiated the creation of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) - an intergovernmental body with the 10-year goal of implementing a Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS). The GEOSS is envisaged to provide coordinated, comprehensive and sustained observations and information products to support decision and policy making on issues of key societal and global importance. In Canada, the Canadian Group on Earth Observations (CGEO) was formed with the goals of managing Canada's engagement in the international process, and more importantly to advance coordinated Earth Observation domestically. The presentation will summarize the history, recent developments, and accomplishments of GEO from both a domestic and international perspective.

Macdonald: The Canadian International Polar Year (IPY) was launched in 2007 with 80% of the funding to be spent in the first two years of this 5-year program. In many ways, IPY is timely in that the Arctic is undergoing unprecedented change in ice climate with as yet less clear consequences for biology and geochemistry.

In this talk, some of the issues we face in a changing Arctic Ocean will be discussed and the major oceanographic programs that have been funded in western Canada will be reviewed. These studies, now under way, provide wide geographical approaches to the issue of Arctic climate change.

The studies also include sampling and the combination of atmospheric, oceanic and biogeochemical components. IPY will produce a large harvest of data which will require a commitment for many years down the road.

Stone: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is currently completing its Fourth Assessment Report. An intergovernmental meeting to accept the Synthesis Report will be held in Valencia, Spain from November 12 to 16, 2007. As with previous Assessments, only a handful of conclusions in any one Working Group significantly advance the science or the policy debate. In this talk, key conclusions will be discussed and a synthesis presented. Evidence from the Working Group reports that was not included in the Summaries for Decision-makers, and that suggests climate change is accelerating, will also be discussed.

Grimes: MSC is in the final year of a modernization program aimed at strengthening its base in terms of infrastructure and staff. There is a need to build on this and renew the focus on its mandated responsibilities, given a changing environment and society. This presentation examines a few of MSC's key ongoing issues and outlines the shape of future activities.

Mr. Grimes will include results of public opinion surveys about Canadians' use of weather information and describe new ways to deliver weather services. He will emphasize the increased frequency of weather-related disasters and the ways in which MSC services are used to mitigate the impacts of these events.

Gower: The European optical imaging sensor, MERIS, has a role similar to the US Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) in wide-area imaging of water and land. However, MERIS uses a different design, which has a partly Canadian heritage. MERIS has advantages, one of which is a unique spectra band that greatly improves detection of plankton blooms and floating vegetation.

A system has been set up to use this capability for regular global monitoring of ocean and coastal waters. The work has already resulted in the first satellite imaging of extensive patterns of floating Sargassum, and of "superblooms" of phytoplankton amongst Antarctic ice. We will show examples of these, and of bloom events which are regularly detected along the BC coast, but not so far in eastern Canadian waters.

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